South African Corporations and post-Apartheid Expansion in Africa – creating a new regional space
The defeat of Apartheid in 1994 liberated not only South Africa’s internal political processes but also its economic relations with neighbouring countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A key outcome was the surge of South African capital northward after years of dampened large scale investment because of legal sanction and more informal regulation. By the early 2000s, South African mining and industrial corporations, financial institutions and even some medium-sized enterprises have once again asserted their role as a dominant force in the SADC region. South Africa’s economic expansion is sometimes portrayed as a one-way process, where local environments and communities are passive recipients of SouthAfrican-led interventions. But evidence increasingly suggests that penetration of the region is highly contested by host countries, and sometimes actively and effectively resisted at local level. In other words, elements of both ‘sub-imperialism’ and local subversion are at play.